Last week I started the off a new series of posts about Leveling Professions. Today I’m going to start off the profession-specific posts with this one on Alchemy.
Alchemy is a very interesting profession in that it can provide you with more potential buffs than every other profession in the game. Every class and every spec can benefit from using it, and items you make early on can still provide at least some benefit to you no matter what level you are.
The purpose of these guides isn’t to actually tell you what to make, because you can already find that at the same source I go to when it’s time to level professions: WoW-Professions.com. You can click on this link to find their Alchemy Leveling Guide.
Instead, I’m going to go through the leveling guide and give you the information that you don’t find at WoW-Professions. Things such as bottlenecks in crafting or materials, how I personally go about leveling them (where I deviate from their guides), and some things I like or dislike about the profession. I’ll also give a few tips on how I make gold with the profession, or ways that I might put it to use that aren’t apparent to everyone.
Getting Started: Materials
The first thing you need to know about Alchemy is what type of materials you need to craft. Herbalism is your primary source. If you want to level an Alchemist you need to either make their other profession Herbalism so that they can provide their own mats, have another toon with Herbalism to feed them mats, or be prepared to spend 2-8,000g on the auction house purchasing the herbs that you need.
There are also some other professions that can lend a hand to your leveling and crafting. Fishing provides a few different materials that you can use to get a decent amount of leveling done. Without digging through all of the recipes I can think of three fish in particular that you can use to speed up your leveling and save yourself some herbs. This mostly happens very early on in Vanilla recipes and then again in Northrend.
You can also get some leveling out of Mining and Jewelcrafting by making use of transmutes. Early on you won’t get much help from either profession, though Mining can help through some of the levels. Once you get to Nothrend level crafting you can get a lot of skill points from transmuting Saronite Bars into Titanium. Cataclysm Alchemy allows you to get the last 15 points or so from transmuting gems that you’ll get from either Mining or Jewelcrafting.
If you’re looking to power-level the profession you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to find a list of items you want to gather beforehand.
Almost every profession has some sort of bottleneck, or trouble area where the mats are either hard to find or all of the recipes you have access to are either green or yellow and so only have a chance to skill you up. I’ve had yellow recipes that took up to nine attempts before it gave me a single point, and yet I’ve had green recipes that gave me a point every single time I made them. Random numbers suck.
Alchemy is pretty good in that it doesn’t have a whole lot of trouble spots in it. However, there are a few herbs in particular that I want to point out as bottlenecks: Goldthorn, Netherbloom, Heartblossom. You want to be sure to farm or purchase enough of these to get through the rough spots because they’re either the only source of skill-ups, or other recipes require so many mats that it wouldn’t be worth it to go any other route.
Clicking on the links for those herbs will take you to maps on Wowhead that show you where the herb nodes are found. You can also look above the mats to see how many herb nodes there are in other zones and click the corresponding links to find the spawn points in the zones that you click.
Goldthorn has always been a bottleneck for me, I’ve had a hard time getting my hands on it all three times I’ve leveled Alchemy. You used to find it in STV at a pretty decent rate, but that’s not the case anymore. Wowhead told me to farm it in Arathi Basin and the Hinterlands, and while the farming wasn’t great there either I did at least find a reasonable amount of nodes. The other catch to the Goldthorn is that it’s always one of the most expensive herbs to buy on the AH, and typically supply is fairly low as well. You need a lot of this herb to get through the mid-high levels of Azeroth recipes.
Netherbloom is similar in that it’s typically expensive to buy and not so easily farmed. The best place to farm this herb is in Netherstorm and it’s in fairly decent supply up there. The problem comes from how short Outlands is and how few people bother getting to Netherstorm in their normal questing which results in most of the supply on the AH coming from people who’re farming it specifically to make you pay for it if you don’t want to farm it yourself.
Heartblossom finishes off the material bottleneck list for me. It’s a new herb in Cataclysm that you’ll use when you’re pushing to the level cap and only available in Deepholm which is a fairly small zone and very easily farmed with its circular layout. It’s one of the better herbs for Inscription to mill and it’s used in a lot of Alchemy recipes which means demand is high as well. Farming for this one is hard because so many other people farm it as well, and the daily quests for Therazane mean people will continue to farm here throughout the life of the expansion while they do their dailies. It’s by far the most expensive herb on the AH on the two servers I actively play on.
Notable Special Recipes
These special recipes are ones that you want to purchase beforehand if you can to make your leveling easier. First up is the Philosopher’s Stone which you purchase in Gadgetzan, located in Tanaris. The fastest and easiest way to get there is to get a Mage portal to Dalaran (or use your Kirin Tor Ring if you have one) and then take the portal found in the Violet Citadel to the Caverns of Time which is found in eastern Tanaris. The portal to CoT is still there even after the removal of city portals with the launch of Cataclysm.
You don’t need it if you’re going to power level the profession all the way and plan to make the Alchemist trinket because it counts as one for you. But if you’re not going to do that, then you’ll need it if you want to be able to do transmutes. I suggest you get it either way because your specialization in Outlands will happen before you can access that trinket and you can save yourself some skill points if you transmute your own mats for the quest (see Specializations below).
When you go to Tanaris to pick this one up, the vendor that sells it also has 4-5 other recipes available. I always buy them all when I go there either to use or to sell on the AH. They aren’t great and won’t really help you much unless you buy them while you’re leveling the profession to get some cheap skills from transmuting old world bars, but you never know when they might come in handy.
Next up we have the Super Mana Potion recipe which you purchase in Zangar Marsh for Alliance or Blade’s Edge Mountains for Horde. It’s not absolutely essential, but it will save you quite a few mats if you get it. It’s a limited-quantity item and takes about half an hour to respawn if someone else buys it before you, but it’s good for saving your mats. If you happen to find an extra recipe when you’re in the area, you might want to consider putting it on the AH to save someone else the trip…for a fee, of course.
The only other recipe I feel a need to mention here is the recipe to Transmute Primal Might. When you chose your Specialization (see below) the easiest method of doing so is to take the Transmute spec which requires four of these. If you buy the pattern and craft your own then you can get the “free” skill points from making them, where if you just buy them off of the AH already made then you don’t. It’s not crucial, it’s just something to consider.
Since I have multiple Alchemists and my typical spec is Transmute I have one of my other Alchemists craft the four Primal Mights in hopes that my transmute spec will kick in and proc additional Primal Mights. Chances aren’t great, but it happens.
There are three different specializations that you can choose from as an Alchemist, and while you don’t have to choose any of them you’re screwing yourself out of free crafted items if you don’t choose one. You must have a minimum skill level of 325, and a character level of 68 before you can specialize.
Transmutation Mastery is the “easiest” one to get because it only requires items that you can easily farm, make, or purchase yourself. It allows anything you transmute to give you up to 4 addition copies of the item. Items that you craft which result in multiple copies to begin with are not multiplied by up to four, it’s just added to. So if it normally makes 2 it can instead make anywhere from 2-6 of the item instead. The additional procs from being a Transmute Master do not use any additional mats, they’re all “free”. Quest: Master of Transmutation
Elixir Mastery requires you to gather items found in the Black Morass instance found in the Caverns of Time. It’s not a hard quest to do if you’re on a higher level toon, but if you’re leveling the toon you’ll likely have a hard time finding a group to do the dungeon with you. If you don’t have guildies to help you and can’t find a group then you might be better off using the “cheat” down below. Chosing the Elixir spec allows you to proc up to four additional copies of any elixirs that you make. Again, it’s not actually a multiplication, it’s an addition. I think most elixirs are only crafted in 1′s anyway, but still. These additional procs of extra elixirs do not use up any additional mats. Flasks are counted as Elixirs too. Quest: Master of Elixirs
Potions Mastery requires you to collect items from the Botanica, another instance that’s hard to get into or find a group for. Again, it’s not hard if you’re on a high level toon, but you’re probably better off using the “cheat” below if you’re leveling your toon and want to take the Potions spec. This spec works the same as the other two, giving you a chance to proc up to 4 additional potions any time you craft them at no additional material cost. There have been some reports of bugs with the Potions spec since Cataclysm was released, but recent comments on Wowhead show that it looks to have been cleared up. Quest: Master of Potions
Cheating the System: You can “cheat” your specialization if you don’t want to be a transmutation master by first choosing transmute as your spec by doing the quest for it, and then paying 150g at the person you turn it into to drop your specialization. You can then go to either of the other specialization trainers and learn the new specialization without having to do the quest for it. You can do this as many times as you want, paying 150g each time to drop your spec.
Personally I prefer the transmute spec because it’s the most valuable to me both from a gold making perspective as well as being able to supply materials to other people in my guild to help them level their professions. In Wrath I spent several months as an Elixir Master making gold from selling Flasks.
No matter what your spec is, if you’re looking to make money off of Alchemy the trick is in utilizing your spec. With Cataclysm for example, Healing and Mana Potions for level 85 characters do not drop off of mobs and are not sold by any form of vendor; The only way to get them is from an Alchemist. So making money as a Potions Master is best done making potions like that which people will buy because they’re more of a necessity. Once raiding really starts to pick up on your server you’ll be able to make a lot of money doing the same with Flasks. While people are still leveling their professions and trying to make gold by crafting epic gear, Transmute is currently the spec of choice for making either Volatiles, Truegold, blue-quality gems, or Metagems.
I’ve never been a fan of Potions spec, I guess Professor Snape just doesn’t excite me much. But I’ve had a lot of success with both Elixir and Transmutation, so those are the two that I would recommend from person experience and preference.
Power Leveling Materials List
The following list is taken from the WoW-Professions website. To find a list of what to make with these items you’ll need to refer to their Alchemy Leveling Guide.
Approximate Materials Required for 1-525:
59 x Peacebloom
59 x Silverleaf
93 x Briarthorn
33 x Bruiseweed
20 x Mageroyal
45 x Stranglekelp
20 x Liferoot
30 x Kingsblood
55 x Goldthorn
10 x Wild Steelbloom
55 x Sungrass
25 x Khadgar’s Whisker
15 x Blindweed
45 x Golden Sansam
18 x Mountain Silversage
30 x Sorrowmoss
15 x Dreamfoil
50 x Felweed
10 x Terocone
35 x Dreaming Glory
10 x Netherbloom
20 x Talandra’s Rose
5 x Pygmy Suckerfish
75 x Goldclover
30 x Tiger Lily
25 x Adder’s Tongue
20 x Icethorn
40 x Lichbloom
81 x Cinderbloom
13 x Stormvine
51 x Azshara’s Veil
34 x Heartblossom
55 x Volatile Life – you need only 5 if you don’t need the Alchemy trinket
32 x Twilight Jasmine
23 x Whiptail
3 x Hessonite
15 x Alicite
15 x Zephyrite or 15 Nightstone